FANTASTIC FOUR: From left: Baugh, Batson-Savage, Miller and Goodison.
This past Sunday morning, UWI Mona’s Department of Literatures in English hosted “Love Affair with Literature,” a succinct and wonderful presentation featuring the well-known Jamaican scribes Lorna Goodison, Kei Miller, Tanya Batson-Savage, and Prof. Edward Baugh. Laden with crisp, vivid imagery, ample humour, and the twin concepts of time and place, the readings offered a terrific kick-off for the week-long 2013 Kingston Book Festival.
Following a sprightly folkloric short-story from Batson-Savage, Baugh offered a handful of poems centred on loss and longing, highlighted by dedications to the likes of Kamau Brathwaite and Cecil Baugh. Baugh also read from his forthcoming collection, Black Sand. Goodison’s focus was primarily on themes of negritude (“To Make Various Sorts of Black”, “Black like This”) and death (“After the Green Gown of my Mother Gone Down”) and a powerful sense of place (Spain, Portugal, Prado Museum, British Columbia and Hope Gardens). Particularly delightful was “The Bear,” a witty account of her encounter with the titular creature in Canada.
Kei Miller, meanwhile, introduced excerpts from his new story collection, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion. Sharply funny and keenly observed, the bits made way for the poems “A Prayer for the Unflummoxed Beaver” (dedicated to his late friend, the Czech writer Hannah Andronikova) and the short and poignant closer “Distance.”